IMD International

IMD gives top companies’ boards a battery charge and boosts women’s participation

June 18, 2015

The spring session of IMD's High Performance Boards (HPB) program, which focuses on helping board members from leading organizations around the world make a real difference, just wrapped up. This edition featured the first ever parallel event for accomplished, board-ready women business leaders, providing them with insights on ways to improve opportunities to ascend to board membership and valuable networking.

"What I learned at High Performance Boards will be directly applicable to my board work at Torres Winery in Spain," said Marimar Torres who participated in HPB and is also the founder of Marimar Estate winery in California. "IMD's programs charge you up like a battery refill," she added.

"The program for women was informative and beautifully orchestrated by IMD Professor Bettina Buechel. Simply great," said Claudia Heimer, Executive Consultant.

"It was a real pleasure to meet everyone and listen to such inspiring speakers. The program is a good contribution toward growing the number of women among the board ranks and helping to level the playing field," said investment banker Cristina Bagnoli Mandic.

On the third day of the HPB program, the board members shared joint sessions with participants from the women's board event. The trailblazing Ann Fudge, board member at Unilever, Novartis and the Rockefeller foundation, addressed both groups. She explained how when she first began working on boards at Liz Claiborn in 1992, she was frequently the only woman member on the boards on which she served.

"Programs like this are like a peek under the tent," said Fudge who attended HPB as a participant in 2013. "IMD's board programs are great for bringing board members together and getting them to refresh their thinking."

Participants also heard a lively exchange of views during a panel featuring Diane de Saint Victor, board member at Barclays and Executive Committee member at ABB, as well as Michel Demaré, Chairman of the Sygenta board and Vice Chairman of the UBS board.

IMD Professor Didier Cossin, HPB program director and director of the IMD Global Board Center said that the purpose of the women's event was to make a contribution. "We created the parallel event for board-ready women executives because we know that women's participation in boards is lagging in many countries. We want to help create more diverse boards, which in turn perform better".

Due to the success of the first women's board event, a session will be added again next year. Stay tuned.

High Performance Boards is designed for supervisory board members and chairpersons to help them improve their contribution to their boards.

The next sessions of High Performance Boards take place on October 05-08, 2015, May 23-26, 2016, and October 10-13, 2016.

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